WSOP Main Event Strategy Snapshot: Phillips Traps the Champ

Published On: 17 October 2009 / Modified: 29 June 2018
Created By: Daniel Skolovy
Dennis Phillips

Every year when the Main Event gets under 100 players, it still surprises me how many awful players have managed to get through.

From the last two episodes on ESPN there are two mind-numbingly horrible hands that come to mind.  In one, a player checks through fives full against two players that obviously don't have a better full house.

In the other, some random jock calls a raise with 8-2o out of the big blind vs. Phil Ivey only to flop a pair and fold. (Hoping for an 822 flop? Makes sense.) Luckily, awful hands weren't the only thing featured.

We also got to see Ivey knock out trex313 via two-outer without even realizing it was him.

That was pretty funny, Ivey gives him the "Sorry, nice playing with you" like he's just some starstruck fan, not even realizing that they've played thousands and thousands of hands together for millions of dollars.

What else, what else? Oh yeah, the last two episodes really showed how much the Main Event is the ultimate run-good challenge.

Ivey hit everything in sight, Phillips gets aces like 20 times, the list goes on. With that much luck involved, it actually does make sense that Mr. 8-2o somehow makes it to Day 6.

It also brought us our next Main Event snapshot, with Dennis Phillips locking horns with fellow OG November Niner Peter Eastgate. In this hand, Phillips surprisingly doesn't look horrible.

Phillips vs Eastgate, 2009 WSOP Main Event

With the blinds 12,000/24,000, Dennis Phillips makes it 65,000 from middle position with 1.5 million behind.

Peter Eastgate
Silly Main Event winners, always betting.

It's folded to Peter Eastgate on the button who makes the call with 1.10 million behind. The small blind folds and Frank Rusnak makes the call in the big blind.

The flop comes 4 3 K. Rusnak and Phillips both check and Eastgate fires 105,000. Rusnak folds and Phillips makes the call.

The turn comes 9 and Phillips checks. Eastgate bets 175,000 into 441,000 and Phillips moves all-in.

Eastgate looks disgusted and folds.

The Breakdown:

Phillips gets the hand rolling by raising to 65,000 with A A. Eastgate calls on the button with 50ishbb and one of the best suited connectors in Q J.

Eastgate is looking to flop big and double up but he also thinks he can outplay Phillips because he's the better player and he's in position.

Frank Rusnak calls as well in the big blind with the A 9. Rusnak is drawn in by good pot odds with his suited ace. He's obviously looking to flop big or get out.

The flop comes K 4 3 and Rusnak checks, having missed the flop completely. Phillips checks as well attempting to disguise his hand and trap the aggressive Peter Eastgate.

The plan works when Eastgate fires 105,000. Eastgate likely thinks Phillips either missed completely or holds an underpair to the board - both of which he feels will fold to continued aggression.

Rusnak folds and Phillips makes the call. The turn comes 9. Phillips continues with his plan and checks again.

Darvin Moon
Darvin Moon = Dennis Phillips 2.0.

Underpair to the Board?

Once Phillips checks and calls on a king-high board, it really looks like he has an underpair to the board - something like JJ or QQ.

Eastgate realizes this and feels like a second barrel will get his opponent to fold these underpairs, so he fires 175,000.

The only problem is Phillips doesn't have an underpair. He has the only overpair, and he has the nut flush draw to go along with it.

So Phillips springs his trap and shoves all-in.

Eastgate, with nothing more than a week gutshot on a three-club board, just folds, forfeiting his 275,000 worth of attempted steals.

A well-played hand by Dennis Phillips, who appears to have really improved since last year.

(His luck however remains the same. I mean who really gets AA that often, COME ON!)

Nh, Phillips. Now let's just see if you can run better than your replacement Darvin Moon.


Please fill the required fields correctly!

Error saving comment!

You need to wait 3 minutes before posting another comment.

jeremiah 2009-10-28 14:21:00

I have to agree with mr. Moon 5 millon raise I thought it was pretty stupid too. And yeah poker is so much easier when your getting great cards, hitting the cards you need but you can't fault them for there fortune. what you have to understand is everyone sucks out every toury you just really remember the ones that are all or nothing and yeah I get sick to my stomach to see 3, 2, 4 outter time after time, I just hate that I can't suckout because I always had the best hand.

Mike Carusone 2009-10-25 12:27:00

Darvin Moon's hands play themselves.
And NO, he's not playing them well.
When he get's delt 'KK' in his 1st hand at Esfandeari's table, who happens to have 'JJ' behind, Moon overplays his cowboys preflop when the SS UTG shoves with a weak ace by reraising big. Had he just smoothcalled preflop, I'm sure Esfanderi shoves with 'JJ' sensing Moon's smoothcall is weak. Or maybe Esfanderi just calls. The flop was all unders to his Jacks, so Moon checks the flop, trapping, I'm sure Esfanderi shoves. Either way Moon misplayed his Kings and NOT getting Maximum value

Noroll 2009-10-23 09:55:00

Just out of curiousity... is there, in your opinion, a better poker players than yourself in the world?

EVERY player makes bad plays. How do you like Ivey's idiotic call with 8's against a big utg-shove?

How about Begleiter continously getting it in with the worst of it and sucking out?

Yes, Dennis Phillips seems to be catching cards - but doesn't he play them well too?

And Darvin Moon... I've watched all episodes of ESPN broadcasts (down to 27 players) and I have not seen him make a mistake so far!

So I really don't see why you give him such a hard time.

It's poker, there's luck involved. YES he is running extremely well, but he's playing well too!


The Poker Reporter Blog

Poker news, gossip, parties, donkstrikery and functioning illiteracy with the crew!
Latest Posts 's Page  
google glass

Positively Nerd Street

Pr0n for the poker nerd. Hardware, software, gadgets, etc; like poker, but from the future.

Latest Posts 's Page  

The Guest Blog

A menagerie of poker pros, celebrities, poker writers and industry figures.

Latest Posts 's Page  

Battle of Malta Blog

Photo essays, player profiles, travel tips, off-the-cuff interviews and more from Battle of Malta!
Latest Posts 's Page  

Sorry, this room is not available in your country.

Please try the best alternative which is available for your location:

Close and visit page